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MP3 Jon Bartlett & Rika Ruebsaat - Now It's Called Princeton

27 vernacular songs and poems from BC''s upper Similkameen River, sung by two well-respected traditional singers.

27 MP3 Songs in this album (50:44) !
Related styles: FOLK: British Folk, FOLK: Celtic Folk

This recording is a collection of songs and poems all of which have some connection to the Princeton area of southern BC. They are drawn from three main sources: songs collected by Phil Thomas in two collecting trips in the early 1960’s; songs and poems published in the Similkameen Star between the years 1900 and 1931; and modern songs made by Princeton area residents.

The idea for the recording came out of research Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat are conducting into the early history of Princeton, mostly through the examination of local papers. They wanted to bring together this material to illustrate the vernacular culture of the area from its earliest printed records.

The songs here display a range of artistic abilities from accomplished to less-than-accomplished, but what shines through all of them are firstly, a lack of any ironic distancing from the substance of the song, and secondly, the almost tangible inclusion of an invisible assembly of workmates. Whether the songs are rambunctious (such as The Blakeburn Song) or despondent (The Broken Down Mucker), one sees in one’s mind’s eye a gathering of workmates, nodding, or laughing, or singing along. Here is no division between ‘performer’ and ‘audience’ but a singing community. Implicit honesty is necessary to pull this off: the workplace is shared with others, and one cannot stray very far from the common recognition of workplace conditions. Whether dealt with factually or with flights of fancy, one must be ‘honest’. The singing community which made the great folk or industrial songs of the past (such as the mining disaster songs of the Appalachian coalfield, designed by fellow workers to wring a tear, and a dollar or two for the widows and orphans), is still in the 1920’s present in Princeton. Though the skills are demonstrably weaker, the intent, ‘to make a music for all of us’, is still very much present.

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